Y’all, I live in the DEEEEEP South, right on the coast. You can bet your bottom dollar that when Yankees are dredging through the winter, Charlestonians (SC, not WV) are in flip-flops. Flip-flops are the official state shoe, after all.
Today is different. Today, the entire country is shivering. So much so, that the county in which I live is delaying the opening of schools in anticipation for temps in the mid-teens (Fahrenheit). Why? We won’t have ice or snow to fight in the AM despite the super-cold weather. My sister lives outside of Chicago. She and her family are dealing with negative temps. If she goes outside for more than 10 minutes with inadequate coverings, she risks frostbite. South Carolinians risk catching a cold. Surely we are being a tad dramatic about this!?!
At the exact moment I was beginning my soapbox diatribe of how Charlestonians are slightly dramatic (Ok, who am I kidding? We’re so over-the-top whiny that we give teenagers a run for their money in the drama department when it comes to cold weather) God convicted me on how unbelievably blessed my friends/family and I are just for living here in Charleston. He then reminded me of my first-hand contact with “The Least of These” in the Charleston area.
As a paralegal, I’ve worked with families supervised by the Department of Social Services (DSS) that my attorneys were court-appointed to represent. I’ve also been a partner-liaison for HALOS (http://www.charlestonhalos.org). I’ve accompanied DSS workers to their clients’ homes in both capacities. Folks, it’s not pretty. It’s down-right heartbreaking most of the time. These are the families that are suffering most right now. They have barely any $ to keep food on the table and keep the heat on, let alone, buy warm winter coats for their kids, especially if we have an atypical, cold winter. These families are most dependent upon public transportation for school/work/grocery stores. These are the kids who will be waiting at the bus stops today, in the cold, with grossly inadequate coats. I don’t know the reason behind Charleston County delaying opening the schools, but I think it’s safe to say that they were thinking of the poorest families most affected by this weather.
I’m being called to do something about this – to keep these kiddos warm. So, I’m asking everyone I know to help my kids & me collect new scarves, new hats, new gloves and new or gently-used coats for these families. I don’t know logistics yet, so details will follow. Initial thought is for donations to go to Agape Ministries (http://www.agapeministriesofcharleston.org/index_splash.htm), Crisis Ministries (http://www.crisisministries.org) & Charleston Halos. Surplus or older, not-so-gently used donations will go to Goodwill. Email me if you want to help. If you live far away from me, then start your own coat drive.
Please, please help the Least of These stay warm. We will do our best to immediately disburse within 24 hours of receiving donation.
Many, many BLESSINGS and stay warm.